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IMPRS PhD Fellowships 2018

The International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Language Sciences is once again recruiting three candidates for its coveted IMPRS Fellowships. Read more for details.



The International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Language Sciences is once again recruiting three candidates for its coveted IMPRS FellowshipsThe Fellowships are intended to encourage interdisciplinary language research that takes advantage of the high concentration of top-rated expertise and facilities available in Nijmegen, Netherlands. Each PhD position is funded for four years with a preferred start date of September 1, 2018. The application deadline is January 2, 2018 (midnight CET).

The IMPRS is the leading research school in the world devoted to studying the foundations of human language. It is a joint initiative of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and its partner institutes at the Radboud University: the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and the Centre for Language Studies. We enrich the doctoral training of our students by equipping them with skills to become successful in academia and beyond. Altogether, the research school offers unrivaled training, top facilities ranging from genetics labs, advanced brain imaging techniques to a virtual reality lab, and an outstanding interdisciplinary environment. 

What we are offering

The Fellowships offer recipients the unique opportunity to work on a self-initiated proposal with scientists of their choice. Our scientists will train them to produce research according to the highest standards. More importantly, recipients will benefit from an excellent head start towards a rewarding career in the language sciences by demonstrating early on the ability to develop an independent line of research.

What we are looking for

We aim to attract outstanding students who wish to earn a PhD degree in any area of the language sciences. Broad questions addressed by students of the IMPRS include: 

  • What is the architecture of the language system?
  • How is language represented in the brain?
  • What is the genetic basis of neurodevelopmental communication disorders? 
  • Why is the human brain capable of learning and processing diverse languages?

The working language of the research school is English. Applicants must have a Master’s degree (or expect to complete the degree before September 2018) in a relevant field. If you have a background in (psycho)linguistics, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, molecular biology or genetics, computer science, or artificial intelligence, you could contribute to fundamental science in this area.

What you need to know

PhD students receive a monthly gross salary starting at approx. €2,300 to cover living costs in Nijmegen. Salaries are in accordance with the German wage agreement for public servants (Tarifvertrag für den Öffentlichen Dienst, TVöD) set under a 50% contract at salary group level E13-1 plus a Gewinnungszulage (allowance) of approx. €400 per month.

Through the IMPRS, you will earn a PhD degree from the Radboud University. The Max Planck Society is an equal opportunity employer. Applications from women, people with disabilities and under-represented groups are particularly encouraged.

How to apply & the selection process

The online application system can be accessed until January 2, 2018 (midnight CET)***. Please consult the list of potential supervisors for more information on research possibilities. You are required to select at least two researchers.

An initial selection of candidates will be interviewed via Skype. Then, short-listed candidates ("finalists") will be asked to develop a research proposal** in consultation with their proposed potential supervisors. The finalists will present their proposals to a mixed panel of experts and non-experts at the MPI*

Proposals promoting interdisciplinary research are highly preferred. Accordingly, applicants are strongly advised to consider a combination of researchers based at the MPI and its partner institutes (CLS, Donders Institute) as potential supervisors. 

Successful applicants ("IMPRS Fellows") will have full access to facilities and resources at the MPI, CLS and Donders Institute to carry out their research. Each institute prides itself in having top-notch technical staff and expertise so that you can focus on what matters: getting your research done.


Please send queries with "IMPRS 2018 application" in the subject line to 


We aim to notify the initial selection of candidates by the end of January of Skype interviews planned in early February. Finalists will then be invited for interviews at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics planned in March*. However, this schedule is subject to change.


*Skype interviews will take place on January 23-25. Final interviews will take place on March 7, and a welcome event will be held the day before. We advise applicants to be in possession of a valid passport and other necessary travel documents for that period. Where applicable, travel and accommodation costs will be reimbursed

 **For the application, you are advised to select at least two researchers with whom you wish to develop a proposal, should you be selected as a finalist. At this stage, you are not expected to contact them, but it may serve you well to do so if you have a promising idea already in mind.

***Be sure to submit your application early to provide your referees enough time to submit their reference letters; a link will be sent directly to them.


Last checked 2018-01-02 by Kevin Lam
About MPI

This is the MPI

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.



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